Bookstore offers ‘uNDefeated’ merchandise to celebrate Irish victory
Alexandra Muck | Thursday, November 29, 2018
Notre Dame fans celebrated Saturday night when the football team beat USC, earning the team an undefeated season. The next day, a T-shirt was available for purchase in the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstores on campus and Eddy Street, commemorating the season.
“We buy it ahead of time, so if we win, we can offer it to fans the next day,” Justin Stecz, the Eck Center store manager, said. “We had it available Sunday morning for anyone who wanted to come in and shop after the game.”
While the shirt has not yet sold out, Stecz said over 450 shirts were sold in the two bookstores on Sunday and the shirts have continued to sell.
Stecz said the team started to work on the order for the shirts — as well as other merchandise such as a hoodie, gift items and children’s and women’s shirts — at the beginning of November.
“Once we got Florida State, we talked about the shirt, and the vendors put together the product lines and [it went] through licensing and approvals, so it’s all sort of been set into place,” he said.
After the Syracuse game, which Stecz said was “sort of the last big test,” the orders went in for the products. The only product to be produced, though, was the shirt that was offered in the bookstore on Sunday.
While the other products were not offered in the store on Sunday, Stecz said they were posted online Saturday night and then went into backorder until the product was actually delivered. He said the products likely started the printing process Sunday and were shipped Monday to arrive in the store Tuesday.
“The term is ‘hot-market product,’ so all the vendors like Under Armour and Champion and RFSJ and WinCraft all have a separate program built in their manufacturing capacity for these one-time things,” Stecz said. “ … They’re ready to go and can print that stuff super quick and get it turned around within a day and out to the retailer within the day. It’s a very fast process they have in place.”
Stecz said the shirt that was originally sold on Sunday is called a “kill shirt” since the shirts get donated somewhere else if the team loses. They can either be sent back to the vendor or go to another company that will recycle them.
The process to offer the products can be complicated with multiple decisions and multiple parties.
“There’s a lot of decisions to be made on how much you purchase, whether you repurchase, the time frames you have to sell the product before people want the next thing, are people going to wait,” Stecz said. “There are a lot of fans who don’t want to jinx it and want to wait [to buy products] … and then there are other fans who want to celebrate every step along the way.”
Since Follett operates the Notre Dame bookstore on the University’s behalf, Stecz said the people involved in the decisions range from employees at the store level, to licensing people on campus, to management at Follett.
“Because of the magnitude of the store and the brand of Notre Dame, there’s a lot more at stake as opposed to maybe a smaller school that Follett operates,” he said. “ … Notre Dame is a big deal nationally, so there’s a lot of excitement and potential for people to purchase product.”
A previous edition of this story incorrectly stated that Follett owns the Notre Dame bookstore. Follett is a third party that operates the bookstore on behalf of the University. The Observer regrets this error.